Concrete – Not Just For Driveways Anymore

Concrete is often thought of as a construction material that is used in purely plain manners .  Of course, concrete is very practical and cost efficient for things like footings, foundations, walls, slabs and other means of support and usefulness, but concrete can also be an aesthetic addition to new home or remodel.  Using concrete in spaces such as sidewalks, patios, driveways, and garages is a fairly routine practice.  Advancements in how concrete is utilized, worked and places makes concrete a very desirable construction material in applications where one might not think to use concrete.

Concrete is very temperate – meaning it remains stable when cooled and heated.  It heats and cools slowly, and is considered a superior  choice for radiant floor heating systems.   This is one reason concrete is an great choice for actual finished flooring areas in homes and additions.  You may be thinking that a flat, gray concrete floor would not be very desirable in a home.  What you may not know is that concrete can be varied  either at the mixing plant, or by mixing in powdered dyes or stains as it is mixed, to create custom colors.  

Another option with concrete is stamping.  Stamping concrete is only bound by your vision .  There are many custom styles to choose from.  Concrete can be stamped and dyed to look like tile, wood flooring, slate, and intricate design patterns.  A mixture of color and design can bring a very long lasting , practical, and beautiful looking floor to any room or outdoor living space.

Concrete can also be “seeded” with an composite material .  Simply put, decorative rock, glass, or other hardened material is broadcast on the top of the concrete as it is setting up and will eventually be grinded , polished, and sealed making the aggregate “burst” out of the floor, giving a truly custom and unique look.

The benefits of concrete are not purely for looks, cost, or durability .  There are other benefits to using concrete, especially in interior applications .  Most, if not all, interior flooring will need to be installed with the assistance of a chemical adhesive .  These glues will give off fumes and vapors as they go through a process of off gassing, or out gassing.  Certain flooring items such as carpet pads, carpet, and even some treated woods will go through this process .  The biggest worry with this process is the indoor air quality, especially in a stagnated or re-circulated interior air situation .  Concrete doesn’t need the use of glues and doesn’t emit any fumes , making it a great choice for indoor use.
Concrete and its versatility does not have to be limited to just floors, patios, and walkways .  The ample opportunities to stain, polish, etch, stencil, stamp and color concrete makes it a building material that can be used for customized counter tops, fireplace enclosures,  decorative walls, landscaping, or planter boxes—even furniture!

Different techniques of finishing concrete can solve problems that can often be left out in the exciting process of building or remodeling a home.  Live in a damp , rainy climate?  Your new concrete sidewalks can have a broom finish, making the texture of the concrete more slip-resistant.  While a broom finish most likely would not be pretty on a colored and stamped concrete finish, additives are available that gives the concrete sandpaper-like grit, to resist slips and skids when wet.

The benefits and options with concrete no longer limit it to the dull, “concrete jungle grey ” of the past. In the hands of a professional , concrete can add value , class , and utility to your home or remodel—the possibilities are nearly endless.  

Click here to see examples of colored, stamped and broomed concrete!

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